Friday, September 2, 2016

Warm and Fuzzy Stuff

It was blustery and slightly chilly with some showers yesterday. Seemed like a good day to bake some muffins and make some chowder.
These are orange/poppyseed/coconut/almond muffins--half the batch has mini dark chocolate chips and half the batch doesn't. These are a variation on my basic go-to muffin recipe, which I originally found in The New Laurel's Kitchen Cookbook where they are called 'Lynne's Muffins.' Here is how I made these:

Place 2 cups of oats (old fashioned rolled oats in the US, jumbo oats here) in a container and add 1 1/2 cups of milk (to vary you can also use soured milk, buttermilk, or orange juice instead of the plain milk--whatever you have or prefer). Place in fridge and let soak overnight or for several hours.

When ready to bake, dump oats/milk mixture into a bowl and add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of orange extract (or to vary you could use vanilla, lemon, or almond instead), 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar, some coconut (if desired) and some poppyseeds (if desired). Stir in until incorporated.

Add 1 cup of wholemeal (whole wheat in the US) flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt and stir to incorporate. Stir in sliced almonds or other nuts and/or some mini chocolate chips (if desired). Spoon into muffin tins that are either greased or lined and bake at 180C or 400F for about 20 minutes.

These are healthy muffins with substance, not the greasy, cake-like ones you buy in the store. If you make them plain, without extract, coconut, seeds, nuts, and chocolate chips, they are like soda bread muffins. I make them a lot when it is not too hot to use the oven--we have plain ones as meal accompaniments and we eat the jazzed up ones as dessert.

I had a few of the plain ones left and we had those with our chowder for supper last night.
Later on I had a lovely peaceful evening listening to podcasts while crocheting a hat.
I used a scrap ball of brown Donegal tweed and a J (6mm) crochet hook to make a 7 stitch crochet ribbing over 7 stitches by doing sc through the back loops. When it was long enough to go around my head comfortably when slightly stretched, I used the tail to sew the ends of the strip together. Then I started working with the ball of Noro Silk Garden I'd been saving for autumn. I did hdcs evenly around (turned out to be 66 stitches) and then worked (without joining rounds) hdc in each stitch through the very back loop. I just went around and around until it was tall enough. Then I worked a round of 9hdc and hdc2tog. I used a stitch marker to mark the beginning of the round. Then a round of 8hdc, hdc2tog. then a round of 7 hdc and hdc2tog and so on until I had completed a round of 1hdc, hdc2tog. At that point I cut the yarn and used the tail to weave through the top and cinch it closed.

It's so simple, which is exactly what this yarn called for--it's all about the colour. And I use the hdc like that a lot for hats, crocheted sock cuffs and other things. I wore the hat when we went out to do some errands this morning, even though it was a little too warm for it. I can wear it with the cuff folded up or leave it down. It's the perfect weight for an autumn hat--not too thick and not too lightweight. It is supposed to warm up a little in the early part of next week and then maybe cool down a little, so maybe I will be able to wear it then.

To readers in the US, have a great Labor Day weekend! If you are not in the US have a great first weekend in September!


DJL said...

Hi Shari,
That's a pretty hat! I made some muffins yesterday too. My Mom gifted me an enormous zucchini so some of that has been reincarnated as muffins for my girls' lunch boxes.
I'm interested in what podcasts you listen to. I love podcasts and am always looking for more. I love to listen to them when I do housework, exercise or knit. I feel like my favorite podcasts never publish frequently enough!

Shari Burke said...

Love muffins--so versatile and very handy to have around. Good way to use up some zucchini. They call them courgettes here, but I like zucchini better as a word.

I guilty of oversubscribing to podcasts. There are so many different kinds and I like to have a variety--I tend to be in the modd for different things at different times. BBC Radio 4 has so many good ones. Now we get that on the radio, being so close to the border, so I can listen when the shows air. My very favourite show is A Good Read. It is bundled with another show called Open Book as Books and Authors podcast. Both shows are good. A Good Read has host Harriet Gilbert and two guests discussing a book they have chosen as a good read. I get several bookish podcasts that I love--NYTimes Book Review podcast, New Yorker Fiction and Author's Voices from the New Yorker (both are authors reading short stories that have appeared in the magazine, either their own or someone else's), Selected Shorts (actors reading short fiction live).

BBC Radio 4 podcasts that I like (in addition to Books and Authors) are: In Our Time (discussion of a topic or person by three experts, hosted by Melvyn Bragg--wide ranging subject matter and I learn new stuff), Great Lives (a guest comes on and 'nominates' someone and talk about the person's life and work), The Life Scientific (the host talks to a scientist about their work and life), Word of Mouth (about language), BBC Inside Science, Lives in a Landscape ((host goes to a place and talks to people there or has a topic and talks to people about their experiences), Making History sometimes special shows that have aired on the radio but are not ongoing series. History of Ideas was great and should still be available.

RTÉ Radio 1 has The Book Show, Voices (this is a short--15ish minutes--pod in which one person tells their story around a particular topic)--the second series of this has just started up.

I also get an old time radio pod, which has a lot of stuff I am not interested in, so I delete a lot of that, but there is a lot of good stuff in the mix. They post a lot each day. And at Christmas there is a Christmas Old Time Radio pod which has some gems--stuff I would never have heard of otherwise. Being a big fan of A Christmas Carol, I enjoy the many, many versions of that which have aired on radio over the decades, from different countries. i would not have even heard of them if not for the podcast.

Hope Wed is good!

Shari Burke said...

I forgot The Forum from BBC World Service! Love that one too :-)

DJL said...

These are great! I'm going to see if any of them are available via iTunes. Thanks for the suggestions. I loved your photos of Buncrana - so moody!
Have a lovely day,

Shari Burke said...

Should have said--yes, they are all available on iTunes! That's how I get them :-)

Buncrana is nice--town itself is bigger than what we are now used to with a population of 6000, but the hore area is great and plenty of walking paths available.